Kentucky bridge repairs make span safer for motorists, bats

September 30, 2021 GMT

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A deteriorating Kentucky bridge that was home to thousands of endangered gray bats has been repaired in way that makes the span safer for motorists and wildlife, officials said.

A project team from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make a habitat-focused design as crews replaced the bridge superstructure with new beams, deck and railing and made repairs to the existing abutment and piers, state officials said Wednesday in a statement. Repairs on the rural, two-lane span were made in a way that provides more roosting space for the bats.

After construction, officials estimated more than 1,000 bats had returned to the bridge. Officials didn’t release the span’s exact location in an effort to prevent interference with the bat habitat.

“This bridge project is the first of its kind in Kentucky, using an innovative and collaborative approach to mitigate the effects of much-needed bridge repairs on an important endangered species,” Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray said.